- Field Skills
Unrealistic goals only set you up for discouragement. Striving for a realistic goal is fun and is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to fitness.
Take some time to think about your needs before setting your fitness goals. Do you want to climb a 3,500-foot mountain, run a 10K race or simply lose extra body fat? Tailor your exercise program to suit your needs.
If you pick an activity you enjoy, you'll be more likely to make time for it and stick with it.
Your spouse, a friend or even a pet can make exercising more fun. They'll give you extra motivation and encourage you in your commitment (and you'll encourage them, too).
Set aside a specific time for exercise each day and don't be talked out of it. Consider biking or walking to work.
Especially if you've been inactive, start slowly. Begin with 10 crunches instead of 50, jog one-half mile instead of two on the first day. If you overdo it and strain yourself, you may become discouraged.
No one likes monotony. Alternate swimming and walking, or weight training one day and an aerobic activity the next. Alter your route if you jog or cycle. Vary your exercises to condition different muscle groups and help prevent injury.
Buy a new pair of gym shorts. Plan a celebratory hike or a cycling trip with others. Enjoy your new level of fitness.
Keep a workout chart and watch your performance improve.
The changes you will feel and see will depend on the frequency, duration and intensity of exercise. As you monitor your progress, you may observe some or all of the following:
- Decrease in resting heart rate (your heart is now pumping more efficiently)
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Decrease in total cholesterol
- The ability to exercise for a longer time with less fatigue
- Increased muscle strength, endurance and flexibility
- Decrease in body fat (you may lose inches even if you don't lose weight, because muscle is denser than fat)
- Improved sleep
- Improved self image (you'll look and feel better)
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